Press Release By The Oromo Federalist Congress International Support Group (OFC-ISG)
April 27, 2016
On April 22, 2016, federal Ethiopian prosecutors charged 22 individuals, including Mr. Bekele Gerba, First Secretary-General of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) with violations of various articles of Ethiopia’s notorious Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP). The charges include – but are not limited to – alleged communication with the banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), public incitement, encouraging violence, and causing the deaths of innocent civilians, as well as property destruction in cities such as Ambo and Adama during the recent protests in Oromia, Ethiopia. All prisoners were previously transferred from Makalawi to Qilinxu jail without any notice to their families or lawyers.
“When they arrived at Qilinxu prison, they were offered to take pills by prison administration which all the 22 prisoners refused,’’ according to Bekele Gerba’s daughter Bontu in an interview she gave to Oromia Media Network on April 23, 2016. ‘’Then the prison polices took 4 of the prisoners – Bekele Gerba, Dejene Tafa, Addisu Bulala and Gurmessa Ayana – to a dark rooms and they are no more with the 18 others,’’ she added. ‘’We, family members, were no more able to visit them this weekend,’’ said Aynalem Debelo, the wife of the Deputy Secretary of OFC, Dejene Tafa. ‘’When we request their whereabouts and demand to visit them, the police has no answer. They told us to communicate the prison administrators who are not willing to talk to us,’’ they told Oromia Media Network.